Science

Worms Teach Babies Ways To Survive Famine

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 31, 2016 02:08 AM EDT
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Survival is how most plants and animals thrive. The species that can withstand the harsh realities of nature are the ones that stay. Various species have various ways to survive. For some worm species, to make their kind survive is by teaching their offspring ways to survive famine.

The natural world can be harsh. One of the realities of nature is that there is always competition for food. Famine is a reality that many species face as competition can be fierce for food resources. For a worm species though, underfed mothers might be programming their offspring for survival in undernourished conditions.

The study was made by a team from Duke University. Leading this team is Associate Professor L. Ryan Bough. For the study two groups of worms have been selected. One group ate its normal diet, while the other group has been fed with a watered-down version of its diet. These worms, the tiny nematode C. elegans lived in soil and fed and rotten vegetation, eating bacteria there.

The larvae coming from both groups then were left without food for eight days, and the researchers have found that the larvae coming from the less-fed group recovered from that condition better than those that came from the well-fed group, Duke Today reports.

The study validates the finding that mothers who don't have enough to eat program their babies to metabolism that can ration nutrients better. This was first observed 20 years ago as Type-2 diabetes rose in humans in Western society, according to Science Daily. The study made by the Duke University researchers show that babies born from underfed mothers could cope much better metabolically.

"These animals are able to anticipate adverse conditions based on their mothers' experience," Baugh observed. He further noted that if the babies had conditions changed, the babies could adapt as well to it. One reason why the babies from underfed mothers adapted better was that the eggs of the worms probably had stayed inside the mother longer, allowing more time for it to develop longer before fertilization.

To study has shown that underfed mother worms could help their babies find ways to survive famine. This is important for survival especially in harsh and lean conditions. Also in an earlier study, it has been shown that human babies benefit more by sharing room with their parents.

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